JACOB GARDENSCHWARTZ ’14
POLITICAL JOURNALIST / ACTORVIST
Jacob Gardenschwartz ‘14 is getting ready to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in communications and public service, and a master’s in public administration. In typical Parker fashion, that’s only the beginning of his current repertoire. Over the past two years he’s interned at NBC’s New York offices covering the election, spent a semester in DC writing for Vox, worked for Meet the Press—oh, and another small thing—started his own successful nonprofit, ImpACT on Stage.Jacob notes that his fervent passion for politics, community, and education stems from Parker: “It was during my time in high school that I became really interested in character education and diversity programming.” During his first year at Parker, he saw a casting notice for ImpACT, a school acting group that used performance for social change. He was instantly hooked and helped grow the small club into a fully-functioning 501c3 by the time he graduated.
Over the past three years, Jacob and ImpACT have worked with over 7,500 high school students in San Diego, sharing stories of bullying and inclusion and providing strategies to help students resolve conflict situations.
“We begin by talking with school administrators about what kind of issues are most prevalent on campus,” Jacob said. “We have a database of around 30 topic areas that we can cover, about different kinds of bullying behaviors, identities that may be targeted, and situations students might find themselves in.”
Once a customized curriculum has been established, ImpACT provides insight about bullying and inclusion through roleplay and improvisation performances. “We don’t pretend we have all of the solutions,” Jacob admits. “Really, it’s about having a two-way dialogue with students—we want to have a conversation and come to the solution together.”
This year, ImpACT will expand to the collegiate level, with programming focused on anti-violence education. To learn more, visit impactonstage.org.
It was during my time in high school that I became really interested in character education and diversity programming.